Making Dry Curd Cottage Cheese
The cheese-making process has fascinated me since we started our own home dairy with goats. I have not explored it as much as I want; however, I am slowly learning. Chevre is delicious to eat and easy to make. To learn how I make it, read “Easy Goat Cheese.”
Now that my family and I are eating on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, we can no longer have chevre. Many recipes in Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall rely on Dry Curd Cottage Cheese. I looked and looked for a source to purchase this cheese. I even went so far as asking a grocery store manager to order it for me by the case, but apparently he could not find it either.
Then it dawned on me. I can make it myself. So, I began reading up on what dry curd cottage cheese is. It is simply the curds without the whey, cream, or milk in cottage cheese. Then I read up on how to make cottage cheese from goat milk. My next step was to take the plunge and try.
Before you begin, you need a large pot, a good thermometer, a cheesecloth, and rennet. You can use the tablet form or liquid form. It does not matter if you use animal or vegetable rennet. Do NOT use Junket Brand rennet from the grocery store. It is not intended for use in cheese-making. Hoegger Goat Supply offers a great cheese-making kit and/or sells the items individually.
Dry Curd Cottage Cheese
1 cup cultured buttermilk
1/4 tsp liquid rennet or 1/8 tablet of tablet rennet
1/4 cup cool water
Heat the milk to 90 degrees. Dilute the rennet in the water. Stir the buttermilk into the warmed milk. Then add the diluted rennet and stir. Cover and allow to sit for 4 hours.
Begin heating the curds again to 115 degrees while stirring gently. Keep the curds to the best of your ability at this temperature for half an hour. It is a juggling game. You are stirring to keep the curds from becoming one big clump. The curds are done when they stop looking like custard. They look more like large cottage cheese curds.
Line a colander with your cheesecloth. Drain the pot keeping the curds in the cheesecloth. Put a few inches of hot water back into your pot. Dip the bag of curds into the hot water to rinse. The water should look cloudy. Drain the curds for 5 minutes. Pour out the water in the pot and replace this time with a few inches of cold water. Now dip the bag of curds into the cold water. The water should be faintly cloudy. Drain the curds for half an hour.
Place the dry curds into a container. Add 1 tsp Kosher salt. Refrigerate.
Making Dry Curd Cottage Cheese is relatively easy. You just need a few inexpensive supplies and a day at home to make it. During the 4 hour wait while the milk coagulates, I busy myself with many other things so it is not like you spend your entire day in the kitchen.
I do not pour the whey down the drain. Instead I drain the whey into a large bowl. When it cools, either Kyla or Jake give it to their show pigs as a treat. Whey contains lactose, which makes it unacceptable for those on SCD. However, it also has vitamins, proteins, and minerals. Since whey is often used by body builders, I thought feeding it to our show pigs was a good use of this cheese-making by-product.
If you are interested in making regular cottage cheese, you would follow the above recipe. Then before refrigerating the curds, you would add a few ounces of cream or whole milk to the curds.
Whether you are following SCD protocol, making cheese from your own milk is rewarding. It is also a good way to use excess milk when your refrigerator is getting too full. If you are having trouble finding your own source for dry curd cottage cheeese, now you know that you can make it at home.